Football fans may need to find a new tipple ahead of the England game on Thursday evening because the biggest pub group in Britain is running low on beer.
Pub giants Ei Group, which has 4,500 properties across Britain, the majority of which are leased pubs, has confirmed it is experiencing shortages of some beer brands. Both beer and soft drinks manufacturers have been under strain due to a shortage of CO2 across Europe, due to the closure of several sites that produce the gas.
“We are aware of the issue relating to a shortage in the supply of CO2 and are working with our suppliers to minimise any disruption to our customers and our publicans,” an Ei Group spokesperson said.
CO2 producers have closed for various reasons including maintenance and refurbishment, according to The British Soft Drinks Association. The problem in Britain has been exacerbated by high demand for fizzy soft drinks and beer due to the recent warm weather and the World Cup.
A Wetherspoon spokesperson also said some of its pubs would be without John Smith’s and Strongbow cider this week, which are both are made by Heineken.
“Wetherspoon has the advantage that it sources its wide range of drinks from a number of suppliers, so has not been too badly affected,” they said, according to the BBC. “Heineken has been the company with the biggest issues and they have told us that all is getting back to normal.”
A Heineken spokesperson added that their breweries are now operating at full capacity. “We’re working 24/7 to get beers to our customers as quickly as possible,” they said.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has predicted England fans will drink 14 million extra pints at the pub during the World Cup group stages.
Commenting on the CO2 shortage, Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of BBPA, said: “We are aware of a situation affecting the availability of CO2 across Europe, which has now started to impact beer producers in the UK. We have recommended our members to continue to liaise with their providers directly where they have concerns over supply.
“We will continue to monitor the situation carefully. However, given the time of year and the World Cup, this situation has arisen at an unfortunate time for the brewing industry.”